Our 7 Favourite Bridges in Great Britain

Bridges are amazing. They get you from one side to another and keep your feet dry. At Stanfords we’ve spent many a lunch break weighing up the merits of a footbridge against those of a toll. So after much deliberation, allow us to present our favourite British bridges and where to find them.

By Greg Cotton

 

The Iron Bridge

The Iron Bridge

Completed in 1781 Abraham Darby’s impressive structure across the Severn Gorge was the first major bridge to be built from cast iron, lending it its rather definitive name. The footbridge no longer takes a toll to cross and it now stands as a monument to the Industrial Revolution in the area.

Eagle-eyed visitors should look out for a mysterious profile etched in the underside of the bridge which is claimed to be of Abraham Darby himself.

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Forth Bridge

The Forth Bridge

This iconic rail bridge spanning the Firth of Forth connecting Edinburgh and Fife has featured on various Scottish bank notes and coins and in Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps. A fictionalised tribute to the bridge even turned up in Grand Theft Auto.

Contrary to the popular colloquialism, painting of Forth Bridge finally came to end in 2011 after just 121 years and this coat is intended to last for at least twenty five years.

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Glenfinnan Viaduct

Glenfinnan Viaduct

Technically not a bridge and actually, as the name suggests, a viaduct but was included anyway on the basis of its stunning good looks. The viaduct connects Fort William and Mallaig, and overlooks the Glenfinnan monument and picturesque Loch Shiel.

The viaduct has been used in the Harry Potter films as part of the route of the Hogwarts Express (which suggests the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is located somewhere near Mallaig).

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Newport Transporter Bridge

Newport Transporter Bridge

Designed to combat low banks on the River Usk this rather unique bridge carries vehicles across the river using a gondola whilst also allowing ships to pass down the river. Visitors to the bridge on foot can climb the towers and walk across the upper deck.

Only twenty of these bridges were ever built and this is one of only eight are still in working use.

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Bridge of Sighs, Oxford

Bridge of Sighs

Officially called the Hertford Bridge, this skyway connects Old and New quadrangles of Hertford College across Catte Street. The bridge has been featured in the background of Inspector Morse and X:Men First Class

Despite owing its popular nickname to the Bridge of Sighs in Venice, Hertford College insist it is not a replica. They are probably right as it actually more closely resembles the Rialto Bridge.

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Tarr Steps

Tarr Steps

The oldest bridge on this list this medieval clapper bridge crosses the River Barle in Exmoor National Park. The stones each weigh up to two tons. Part of the bridge of washed away by storms in November 2016 but it has since been rebuilt.

According to legend the bridge was built by the devil who cursed it and promised to kill anyone who crossed it. However, following a confrontation with a parson, the devil has now conceded he will only use the bridge when he wants to sunbathe. (This is the actual legend!)

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Clifton Suspension Bridge

Clifton Suspension Bridge
No list of British bridges would be complete without the inclusion of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s masterpiece. Crossing the Avon Gorge connecting Bristol with North Somerset this bridge has charged a toll since opening in 1864.

As a distinctive Bristolian landmark, the bridge has played host to a number of cultural events including the first modern bungee jump in 1979 and a flyover from the last ever Concorde flight in 2003.

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7 thoughts on “Our 7 Favourite Bridges in Great Britain”

  1. AS I don’t think my previous thoughts got through,maybe this time it will;

    My favourite Bridge is the one over troubled waters!!

  2. A notable bridge should be 1. A triumph of engineering, 2. Beautiful 3. Impressive in size. The Clifton suspension bridge and the Forth bridge (built over the Firth of Forth, not “the Firth of Firth” as your notes say!) sarisfy those criteria. I would vote for the Forth Bridge personally. It was a revolutionary design at the time and its size is astonishing.

  3. We’ve got a few good bridges up in north east England. The Tyne bridge between Newcastle and Gateshead, the monkwearmouth bridge,Sunderland. Probably the strangest the transporter bridge between Middlesbrough and port Clarence, combining a bridge and ferry!

  4. In the north – Ribblehead Viaduct, the Humber Bridge, the Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge, the Tyne Bridge???

  5. My favourite bridge is situated at 963396 on the Exmoor Explorer map. The bridge is about 2 meters long and just wide enough for one person, it is built as a miniature, serves a useful purpose. It is in the village of Clicket, deserted some time in the early 1900’s.

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